Credit Cards

Which banks pool credit card points?

Pooled points mean lower conversion fees and simpler card cancellations. Which banks do, and which banks don't?

If you’re in the miles and points game, it’s quite likely that you may have more than one credit card from a given bank.

Ads

For example, I may use the UOB Preferred Platinum Visa to earn 10X on payWave transactions, and the UOB Visa Signature to earn 10X on foreign currency spending. When the time comes to convert my UNI$ into miles, I only need to pay one conversion fee because UOB pools my credit card points. That’s to say, whatever points I earn go into a central pool, and points are taken from that pool.

Contrast this to Citibank, which does not pool credit card points. If I hold a Citi Prestige and a Citi Rewards Visa, my ThankYou points need to be redeemed separately, and I’ll pay as many conversion fees as I have cards.

Points pooling also matters when it comes to cancelling cards. Since Citibank points do not pool, I’ll need to cash out all my points on a given card before I cancel it, or otherwise forfeit them. Since UOB points pool, cancelling a given card has no impact on my total points balance, assuming it’s not my last points-earning card with the bank.

All things equal, it’s much better to earn points with a bank that pools. So which do, and which don’t?

Which banks pool points?

Here’s a high-level summary of which banks do and don’t pool points.

BankPools Credit Card Points?
Yes1
No2
No
Yes3
No
Yes
Yes4 
No5
Yes6

There is some nuance to this, so be sure to read the details below.

(1) American Express

Pooling is irrelevant for the KrisFlyer cobrand cards, because miles are automatically credited to the linked KrisFlyer account and you can’t concurrently hold more than one cobrand card anyway.

Points on the Membership Rewards-earning cards do pool, but it’s slightly complicated.

Ads

First of all, recall that AMEX Platinum Charge cardholders can convert Membership Rewards points to miles at a 400:250 ratio, compared to 450:250 for other AMEX cardholders.

If you hold an AMEX Platinum Charge and an AMEX Platinum Reserve card (remember, you don’t need to pay the annual fee on the Reserve), there are two possibilities.

(1) Some people will see their points pooled automatically on the back end, all convertible at the more advantageous 400:250 rate. If you’re in this situation, the drop down menu for “Your Points Account” will look like this.

(2) Some people will not see their points pooled on the back end. Instead, they’ll have one points account for their AMEX Platinum Charge, and another points account for their AMEX Platinum Reserve. If you’re in this situation, the drop down menu for “Your Points Account” will have a “Switch Account” button to toggle between points balances.

In this case, you can call up customer service to get your points manually combined and transferred at the preferable 400:250 rate. I don’t know why some people have separate accounts, and others have a single one, but either way you’ll get the 400:250 rate if you hold an AMEX Platinum Charge.

Ads

It’s the same logic if you hold an AMEX Platinum Charge and an AMEX Platinum Credit Card, or an AMEX Platinum Charge and an AMEX Rewards card.

(2) Bank of China

Although Bank of China only has one miles card on offer, you may still end up paying multiple conversion fees.

That’s because from 15 March 2019, BOC capped the maximum number of points that can be converted in a single transaction at 10 blocks. This works out to 60,000 Asia Miles, or 100,000 KrisFlyer miles. This means that if you want to convert, say, 250,000 KrisFlyer miles, you’d pay $30 x 3 =$90 of conversion fees.

Ads

It’s a silly rule and very arbitrary, but it is what it is.

(3) DBS

DBS is slightly confusing, because points are kept separate on the back end but pooled together at the point of redemption.

For example, note how the DBS Rewards portal shows that I have 4,971 DBS points on my card ending 4921, and 2,121 DBS points on my card ending 6440.

Although each card’s individual balance is less than 5,000, I’m still able to redeem a block of 5,000 DBS Points because the points are pooled together for redemption. The system will prompt me to select a credit card number to “deduct” the points from, but it doesn’t matter which card I pick.

Ads

When redeeming points, the DBS system will deduct those with the earliest expiry first– since DBS WWMC points expire after one year and DBS Altitude/Treasures AMEX/Insignia points never expire, the former will always be redeemed before the latter.

Although DBS will only charge you one fee per conversion, the fact that DBS keeps points separate on the back end means that cancelling a given card results in forfeiture of all points on that card. So cash them out before you cancel!

(4) OCBC

Image result for ocbc titanium rewards

OCBC$ earned through cards like the OCBC Titanium Rewards (both Blue and Pink) and the OCBC Platinum Card (if something should posses you to get it) will be pooled together.

Image result for ocbc voyage

However, the OCBC VOYAGE earns a different points currency, VOYAGE Miles, which cannot be pooled with OCBC$. VOYAGE Miles work very differently from OCBC$ anyway, so it wouldn’t be logically possible to pool them.

(5) Standard Chartered

Ads

Until recently, SCB only had two points-earning cards of note- the SCB Visa Infinite, and the SCB Rewards+. Points do not pool across these two cards, as evidenced by the fact that the SCB Rewards catalog has separate “Air Miles (Visa Infinite)” and “Air Miles (Other Credit Cards” sections.

However, the launch of the X Card adds additional complexity to the situation.

You can pool 360° Rewards Points from the X Card and Visa Infinite to redeem KrisFlyer miles, but you will not be able to convert 360° Rewards Points from the Visa Infinite to any of the X Card’s 11 new transfer partners.

SCB’s system deducts points from the account with the highest balance, which creates a problem if you’ve got both an X Card and Visa Infinite. Although 360° Rewards Points earned through both cards don’t expire, the X Card effectively has a one-year lifespan because of its underwhelming benefits– you don’t want to pay $695.50 in the second year for just two Priority Pass lounge visits!

If it happens that your Visa Infinite’s points balance is larger than your X Card’s, your options are:

  • to redeem just enough points from your Visa Infinite such that the X Card becomes the higher balance card
  • to earn just enough points on your X Card so that the X card becomes the higher balance card- if you got the 100,000 miles bonus from $6,000 of local spending, you’ll have a total of 268,000 360° Rewards Points
  • to transfer just enough points to another SCB cardholder through the nominee system such that the X Card becomes the higher balance card

(6) UOB

Points pool across all UOB cards, with the exception of the KrisFlyer UOB Credit Card. This is a cobrand card, so miles earned are deposited directly into your KrisFlyer account (just watch out for the delayed crediting).

Conclusion

It’s very customer-unfriendly not to pool points, but my guess is that banks which don’t allow it aren’t doing so deliberately. More likely than not, it’s a hangover from an outdated IT system where points were kept in silos, which no one dares to touch.

Not pooling points is a black mark, but it’s not necessarily a dealbreaker. I’d argue that it’s still worth earning Citi points, for example, thanks to the sheer variety of transfer partners.

Citi transfer partners

Similarly, it’d be silly to pass up on the X Card’s 100,000 miles sign up bonus (assuming you got it while you still could) just because it wouldn’t pool with your Rewards+ card (but why on earth would you hold one in the first place?)

If you’re planning to hold multiple cards, it’s important to know your points pooling policies. Bookmark this page for future reference!


Signing up for credit cards through any of the links in this article may generate a referral commission that supports the running of the site. Found this post useful? Subscribe to our Telegram Channel to get these posts pushed directly to your phone, or our newsletter (on the right of your screen) for the latest deals and hacks delivered to your inbox.

13
Leave a Reply

avatar
4 Comment threads
9 Thread replies
0 Followers
 
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
10 Comment authors
MileshedgehogJust wonderingNo miles for meDKAaron Wong Recent comment authors
  Subscribe  
Notify of
new to miles
Guest
new to miles

do points earned from supplementary cards of these banks count and pool to the main card?

No miles for me
Guest
No miles for me

“SC x-card – if you got the 100,000 miles bonus from $6,000 of local spending”

It’s any spending isn’t it? Not just local spending.

DR
Guest
DR

You describe the nuances of these banks and their respective cards well. Thank you!

DK
Guest
DK

Just a minor point, I don’t think you will lose all the uni$ with uob even after you cancel your last mile earning card. The balance will still be the same after you next reapply another uob miles earning card. I had an experience where I had a negative balance (long story) and it was there even after I cancelled all my cards.

DR
Guest
DR

How did you manage to get negative points? Is it a corner case or something people can easily fall into?